Windsor Duke leading pages for delegates

Published 10:45 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

Luke Denoncourt from Windsor is helping to lead the pages for the Virginia General Assembly's House of Delegates this session. With him is Libby Clinger as they announced the pages' names on the first day of orientation.

Luke Denoncourt from Windsor is helping to lead the pages for the Virginia General Assembly’s House of Delegates this session. With him is Libby Clinger as they announced the pages’ names on the first day of orientation.

Luke Denoncourt can attest that inspiration can come from the unlikeliest places and things. For reasons he still can’t explain, the sight of a lighted blue button inspired the Windsor High School student to become a page for the House of Delegates in the Virginia General Assembly. This year, he’s even leading a group of the student-age errand-runners.

During a tour with fellow Boy Scouts of the Capitol in Richmond a few years ago, the guide showed a series of buttons, including the one for pages. Suddenly interested, he asked about it.

“I was at the age limit and decided I would apply,” said Denoncourt, 16. “To apply I had to write an essay, fill out a bunch of forms, list my extracurricular activities, and get a letter of recommendation from my delegate, Rick Morris (R-64). I interviewed with him a couple of times and did volunteer work.”

The latter included helping him to host events, such as passing out literature, setting up and breaking down settings for meetings.

There are 41 pages separated into two teams, 19 of which are under his direction. Some work in the General Assembly building where the delegates and senators have their offices, and then the others in the Chamber during the session.

“Last year as a page we switched jobs every eight days. In the General Assembly building, I worked in the IT department. There, I was cutting videos for some delegates who would request videos. I would format and send them,” he added. “I really enjoy being in Chamber. Again, we rotate jobs, sometimes in the galleries letting people in, directing them to the galleries, getting delegates’ orders.”

And yes, the pages might even be called on occasionally to order some food for the working men and women.

As the head page for his group, Denoncourt is responsible for overseeing the pages, keeping them organizing and assigning duties.

The work schedule for the pages is Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with a mandatory study hall from 7 to 9 p.m. They leave after 2 p.m. on Fridays.

As mentioned above, schoolwork doesn’t stop just because the pages are privileged to serve as paid government workers. But Denoncourt said he’s been able to balance the two.

“I have supportive teachers and a principal [Daniel Soderholm]. I’m very much on top of my school work,” he said. “Last year, my English teacher Miss [Dawn] Carroll, really helped me getting me in. This year, Mr. [Matthew] Burgess has been wonderful.”

An age restriction would prevent Denoncourt from returning as a head page in the GA next year, but he could go to the federal level as a senate page in Washington, D.C. But he’s debating what to do next year, because the Governor’s School for Science and Technology is calling to him.

His involvement in state government has him interested in politics, and it’s not been ruled out.

“I am considering it among multiple careers. I’ve always wanted to be in the Navy. I love sailing,” he said. “There’s also astrobiology; that might be a field I’d wish to pursue.”

All in all, Denoncourt considers this opportunity to again serve as a page — a leader at that, no less — as a “a marvelous experience.

He is the son of Jim and Elizabeth Denoncourt; she serves as the school nurse. Siblings are twin brother James; Nathaniel, a year older; sister Cora, two years younger; and Ben, the baby brother.

“Of course we’re proud,” said his mother. “I know he can do anything. He’s an inspiration to me. He is.”

She acknowledged being a bit surprised when Luke said he wanted to serve again as a page, but onlyw because of the challenge of keeping up with school work, but not, she added, “in the fact that he wants to be learning more and doing more. He pays attention to everything.”